October2014-RosemontCollege-HogwartsBanquet

Throwback Thursday: Quidditch Player Cosplay Jackets

Cosplay is a geek hobby I never really got into. Part of it was because I didn’t have access to my mom’s sewing machine while living in the college dorms. Part of it was the expense. (Because materials cost money.)

But last summer, I got a secondhand sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother, and when my publishing program hosted a Hogwarts Banquet, I decided it was time to break out the sewing machine and asked some friends if they wanted to go as Quidditch players – and make uniform jackets ourselves.

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April 2015 Books Completed

April books! I read 9 titles this month, but I’m a little bit behind. (Just by two.)

Cress by Marissa Meyer. The Lunar Chronicles series (young adult speculative fiction) is an easy read — not challenging or thought-provoking, but a fun ride. 3 out of 5 stars

Rin-ne Vol. 1-5. The first three volumes of this one were a re-read, but Vol. 4 & 5 were new to me and also good developments for the series. It’s still not as good as Inuyasha, but it’s an enjoyable series with the same art style from Rumiko Takahashi I’ve really come to love. There’s a full review available here. 3 out of 5 stars

Food Wars! Vol. 5. Next volume in the Food Wars! manga continues the training camp from hell for the first-year students. There wasn’t enough Erina in this one for me. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Lola Levine is Not Mean! by Monica Brown. Another book for my internship – a chapter book about a girl who loves soccer, but sometimes can be too aggressive. 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Princess Who Had No Kingdom by Ursula Jones. Another picture book, this time about a princess without a kingdom who goes around on a bit of an adventure as she seeks her kingdom. 5 out of 5 stars

What were your favorite books this April?

Dec 6 2014 Women Unbound Transformation students

The Reason Why

During my capstone presentation last night, my PowerPoint included a photo that I captioned “December 2014 Transformation keynote in Toledo, Ohio,” that never really got explained in the presentation itself. That was actually something that I had written in and subsequently removed.

I did want to explain a little further what the photo was, and also to explain why I removed the part that I did.

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Read or Drop? Rinne Vol. 1-5

When I reviewed Food Wars!, I mentioned that I’m not typically a huge shounen series lover – with the exception of all work by Rumiko Takahashi, the mangaka of series like Inuyasha and Ranma ½. Rinne, Takahashi’s newest manga, revisits many of the same themes addressed in both series I mentioned, and that thrills me beyond belief.

KYOKAI NO RINNE © 2009 Rumiko TAKAHASHI/SHOGAKUKAN

KYOKAI NO RINNE © 2009 Rumiko TAKAHASHI/SHOGAKUKAN

One reason I fell so deeply in love with the Inuyasha series was because of how the series treated its protagonist and titular character, a teenage boy who is half-demon and half-human. Inuyasha is a loner, ostracized by humans for being half-demon and looked down on by demons who see his human half as less worthwhile.

Like Inuyasha, the titular character – Rinne Rokudo – is a mixed-race character, though rather than half-demon, he’s part human and part Shinigami. The Japanese Shinigami is something like a grim reaper, a supernatural being whose duty it is to guide the dead to the afterlife. In Rinne, Shinigami also have other duties, mainly dispatching evil spirits and making sure nothing supernatural goes terribly awry. But Rinne, who is part Shinigami and part human, has diluted supernatural abilities, making him more dependent on devices than other Shinigami.

Takahashi’s work rarely has a hero who is also the protagonist, and the true protagonist of the series is a girl named Sakura Mamiya, who sees ghosts and spirits but is otherwise ordinary.

The first five volumes so far have served to introduce the series’ major players: the protagonist Sakura, the titular character Rinne, each of the two’s other primary love interest, and Rinne’s father, who seems to be the Big Bad of the series. These volumes also set up most of the running gags of the series: Rinne’s extreme poverty and subsequent stinginess, Tsubasa Jumonji’s obtuse one-sided crush on Sakura, and the Shinigami Ageha’s unrequited love for Rinne.

(It wouldn’t be a Rumiko Takahashi story without a love hexagon or three.)

One of my grievances with this series, though, is that I’m five volumes in and have no idea what the overarching plot is about. It seems to be more in line with a Ranma ½ style situational/romantic comedy, but the Shinigami plot feels more like Inuyasha’s more epic style, which is a bit confusing. No quest has appeared so far, and the largest issue (besides Rinne being extremely broke) is whether or not Sakura and Rinne are into one another.

The series is very funny, though, and I’ve enjoyed the whole thing. The art style is pretty typical of Takahashi’s, which has been so consistent over the course of different series that you practically expect Ranma and Inuyasha themselves to pop up at some point.

I’m not sure if too many people would be falling over themselves for this series, but lovers of Ranma’s light tone and Inuyasha’s supernatural elements will love it.

Story: 2.5 out of 5

Art: 3.5 out of 5

Overall: 3 out of 5

5 Adorable Stationery Shops on Etsy to Check Out

Earlier this month, I mentioned that it’s National Card and Letter Writing Month. But you can’t really write cards and letters without the proper supplies, right? If you’re like me – obsessed with finding cute stationery – then let me share a few great cute and geeky stationery shops on Etsy so you can stock up your own stationery basket or drawer.

Check out five shops giving me stationery envy after the jump!

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